On the night of September 14, 2014, a SWAT team was summoned to a three-story townhouse in Smyrna, Georgia after neighbors reported hearing gunshots. What no-one knew at the time was that inside the house, a domestic violence incident had already turned deadly. A full 12 hours after arriving, officers entered the home and found the bodies of 37-year-old Jessica Arrendale and her 30-year-old boyfriend Antoine Davis in an apparent murder-suicide.
What they didn’t yet know is that the couple’s five-month-old daughter had survived the violent encounter under very unusual circumstances.
These circumstances would prove Jessica Arrendale a hero.
Jessica had a 15-year-old daughter named Naiomi and her partner Antoine also had two daughters from a previous relationship. A fourth daughter joined their family when little Cobie was born.
Antoine was a U.S. Marine who had served in the Iraq War. Although the mother of his elder daughters said that he was always a loving father, the war had left him deeply troubled and he suffered bouts of severe depression.
Antoine and Jessica’s relationship was strained and they were reportedly involved in a custody battle over Cobie. According to Jessica’s mother, Antoine had been physically violent with Jessica on a number of occasions. On the night of the murder when Antoine and Jessica came home from dinner, an argument broke out and tensions quickly escalated. Antoine chased Jessica through the house. With their baby in one arm and a baseball bat in the other, she tried to keep him at bay. But he was stronger than she was and her defense weapon was used against her.